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Tuesday 21 November 2023


This song, Yes by McAlmont & Butler, came out in mid- May 1995. In eighteen months time it will be thirty years old, which seems ridiculous- as does the idea that the mid- 90s are now three decades ago. Bernard Butler and David McAlmont had both left their previous bands in acrimony, Bernard walking out of Suede and David out of Thieves, and when they bumped into each other, in the Jazz Cafe in Camden, both were looking for some kind of statement to announce their return and to kick back against their former bandmates. Bernard had written the song as an instrumental and was coming out of 'a very dark place'. It was , he has said, 'a very liberating song'. McAlmont had a verse and the voice of an angel. Between them they recorded this enormous piece of 60s inspired, Wall of Sound pop music, a song to be sung loudly and in that sweet spot between anger and celebration. 


I turned 25 four days after Yes was released. Isaac would have been 25 this week had he lived. When I heard Yes last week it struck a chord with me, a song about survival and sticking up two fingers to the world, but sitting here typing this now, three days before Isaac's birthday, I'm not sure I do feel that much better. It still feels really shit. 

Yes, to paraphrase McAlmont, I do need November to be over. 

David McAlmont has recorded an album with Hifi Sean, a producer, songwriter, musician and DJ and also the former/ current singer of The Soup Dragons. Their album Happy Ending came out either last year or this year- the full vinyl release was this year so I think it counts as a 2023 album- and is a joy from start to finish, a beautiful stew of dance rhythms, synths, Bollywood strings, pulsing bass, piano and McAlmont's extraordinary voice. A psychedelic electronic soul soundtrack according to Last Night From Glasgow, and they ain't wrong. 

All In The World


Rol said...

Hoping you get through this week OK, Adam.

I have to check myself on a daily basis regarding the 90s being 30 years ago. It still feels like a lie I'm being told by young people who don't remember it properly.

Martin said...

A song for the ages. I'm unlikely to ever be on Desert Island Discs but if, somehow, I ever was Yes would probably be one of my eight tracks.

Rickyotter said...

An absolutely belting tune that will always sound timeless. Thinking of you all this week Adam, I know it will be so very hard, but hopefully, after some reflection, you will find a tiny bit of peace

Khayem said...

My thoughts are with you, Lou and Eliza. McAlmont & Butler will always have a very special place in my heart as Mrs K & I (back before we became and & Mrs K) saw them live in concert. It remains one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to and their performance of Yes was a standout.

I’ve see Bernard play live since but missed David McAlmont a few times. Hopefully, I will get to see him with Hifi Sean in early 2024.

The M&B albums are superb. Happy Ending (a Late Night From Glasgow vinyl release in 2022; full multi-format release in 2023) threatens to be my album of the year for two years’ running. It really is a work of art.